Versailles Treaty breezes past field to win Alabama

August 11, 1991|By Newsday

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- The news of Meadow Star's withdrawal from the 111th running of the nation's oldest race for 3-year-old fillies brightened Shug McGaughey's morning. "I was not disappointed," he said from behind a smile. Versailles Treaty brightened the trainer's afternoon.

Trainer Leroy Jolley elected to scratch Meadow Star from the Alabama yesterday rather than run on a muddy track. And in the absence of the filly who has won 11 of 12 races against females, Versailles Treaty's stock soared at the betting windows.

"When Meadow Star came out, it opened a lot of doors," McGaughey said. "I'd always rather be 4-5 than 5-1."

Versailles Treaty, heavily favored over five rivals on the strength of her victory in the 7-furlong Test Stakes here two weeks ago, justified the short price in her first attempt at a distance beyond a mile. She earned an authoritative, 4 1/2 -length victory over Til Forbid on a track labeled "good," but actually closer to muddy.

The question facing Versailles Treaty and McGaughey was the filly's ability to stay 1 1/4 miles. She did it rather easily.

Versailles Treaty stalked an honest early pace (23 1/5 seconds, :47 1/5, 1:11 2/5) set by Car Gal and moved to take control when asked by rider Angel Cordero above the quarter pole. The daughter of Danzig repelled Til Forbid's mild challenge leaving the turn and drew away through the stretch. She ran 10 furlongs in 2:02 2/5 and answered loudly any question McGaughey may have had about her range.

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